(Source: USDOJ) RENO – A former Reno mortgage broker was sentenced today to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, 150 hours of community service, and ordered to pay restitution for embezzling $260,000 from a Reno company’s employee pension plan, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Marcilin Anne Benvin, 56, currently a resident of Douglas, Alaska, pleaded guilty last September to one count of embezzlement and theft from an employee benefit plan, and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks. Benvin must self-report to federal prison by May 6 at noon.
“The investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, including loan and investment fraud, is currently a top priority of the District,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure that individuals who commit this type of crime are brought to justice.”
From approximately 1996 to 2008, Benvin lived and worked as a mortgage broker in Reno, and was the President and operator of Cetus Mortgage, Ltd. (Cetus). Cetus was in the business of providing and servicing loans made by private investors to borrowers, primarily for residential construction and development projects. A Reno painting service company had been investing its employee pension plan money with Cetus for more than 20 years. In November 2006, Benvin told one of the trustees for the pension plan that one of its investment loans had matured. Benvin asked the trustee whether the pension plan wanted to rollover the $260,000 principal into another loan. The plan agreed, and was provided documents, including a promissory note and deed of trust, stating that it was being invested in Maverick Development. As it turned out, the documents were forged and Benvin had failed to invest the loan monies as promised, and had misappropriated the investor funds for herself. To date, the pension plan has not received back any of the $260,000 that it provided to Cetus through Benvin. Cetus closed its business and filed for bankruptcy in 2008.
The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian L. Sullivan.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com[external link].